If you are looking for the best Medicare supplement plans aka: Medigap Plans, you have come to the right place. More Medicare beneficiaries have selected Medicare supplement plans over a Medicare advantage plan. While a Medicare advantage plan can look attractive, many beneficiaries prefer the freedom and flexibility of Medicare supplement plans. It is important for every consumer to compare the differences between Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare supplement plans.
Medicare supplement plans are standardized by the US Government. This means they do not change from year to year. They are only allowed to be discontinued for any new Medicare beneficiaries and not completely deleted. This happened in 2020 with the Medicare supplement Plan F. Anyone enrolled on Plan F could remain, but any new enrollee would need to select a different plan.
When selecting which Medigap plan will work best for you, it is important to talk with a licensed Medicare supplement insurance agent to help you compare the different plans. Each Medigap plan provides different levels of insurance coverage and will provide a higher or lower premium depending on the level of coverage you desire.
Medicare supplement plans are broken down by their assigned letter. Prior to January 1, 2020, the most popular Medigap plan was the Plan F. Today most people are either selecting Medicare supplement Plan G or Medicare supplement Plan N. While both plans are great plans, it is important to understand the differences between them.
It is also important to understand, you may not be able to move from a lower plan to a higher plan with more coverage. If you select the lessor insurance coverage of Plan N to save money today and wanted to increase your coverage to a Plan G in the future, the Medicare insurance company may require a medical underwriting review. This means, you are not guaranteed the ability to upgrade your plan in the future.
If you were to select Medigap Plan B versus the Plan G, you would be responsible for the coinsurance cost related to skilled nursing facilities, Medicare Part B excess charges, and all cost related to a foreign travel emergency.
While you may not be concerned with skilled nursing facilities cost today, you may be in your future. You will need to weigh out the small savings today to the large potential savings tomorrow.
In additional, the 15% Medicare Part B excess charges can add up to a hefty bill depending on which doctor or medical facility is passing on this additional allowable fee.
When choosing the right Medicare supplement plan, it is important to work with a licensed Medicare agent who can walk you through the pros and cons of each plan. The cost difference between plans is nominal, which is why most opt for the with the most coverage.
Medicare Supplement plans work alongside with Original Medicare (Parts A & B). Medicare beneficiaries purchase Medigap plans, to help with out-of-pocket costs not covered by Parts A and B. This includes your deductibles, copays, and coinsurance cost that are your responsibility. The amount not covered by Medicare, is what is known as the gap in coverage. Medicare Supplement plans provide beneficiaries with the following benefits:
If a Medicare beneficiary continues to pay their monthly insurance premiums when due and they don’t make any material misrepresentation, there Medigap plan cannot be canceled. We recommend all Medicare beneficiaries sign up for automatic payment through their checking account.
Medigap plans will experience a rate increase from year to year. These increases are typically small and will have a minimal impact on your overall finances. Your Medicare insurance brokers are constantly reviewing companies and their premiums. If your state allows for a change without medical underwriting, your agent will reach out to you to recommend making a change.
The cost of a Medigap plan differ from state, county, city, current age, and the specific plan you select. For instance, Medicare supplement plan G purchased at age 65 in the state of California may cost $150 a month, however this same plan in Arizona may only cost $105 a month.
The pricing differences are factored in based on the cost of healthcare in your local area, state specific rules and guidelines, Medigap plan competition, and a host of other rating factors.
States like California, Oregon, Maine, and Missouri have passed legislation to allow making changes to your Medigap plan even if you are not healthy. This means that unhealthy people are switching onto different plans, which means those plans are bound to shoot up in price.
Plans in these states can cost as must a 50% more than other states without these laws.
Medicare supplement plans are priced based on one of three different rating criteria:
1) Attained-age pricing – means your monthly premium is based on your current age, and your Medigap premium will continue to increase as you get older.
2) Community-rated pricing – means that age does not affect your premiums. It is based on the health of your local community which produces a single premium amount for everyone.
3) Issue-age pricing – means that your premium will be locked in at the age you purchase your plan. So, if you purchase a Medigap plan at age 72, you get the 72-year-old rate for life.
Attained-age pricing is the most common rating category used by most Medicare insurance companies. This allows for the lowest monthly premium at age 65 and your premium will gradually increase throughout the years. Issue-age plans cost the most at age 65 as the companies are locked in for life.
You’ll see how this all comes together — different states will allow different types of pricing models. For example, Florida and Georgia do not allow attained-age pricing. This adds a piece of complexity into the puzzle. The link between age and location (in relation to your Medigap rates) is often tied together.
To check your local rates, reach out to one of our Medicare insurance agents who can quickly provide you with the requested information.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers has been helping Medicare beneficiaries for over 20 years. Our licensed insurance agents are here to help you find the best Medicare insurance plan for your individual needs.
It is important to select the correct Medicare plan when you first sign up for Medicare. Most states do not have legislation in place which allows you to switch companies without a full medical history check.
If you are considering a Medicare Advantage plan, we can also help you find an Advantage plan in your local area.